Globe-trotting scale of Norwich Beryl Bikes usage revealed

Norfolk County Council cabinet members left to right Mike Stonard, Andrew Jamieson and Martin Wilby

Norfolk County Council cabinet members left to right Mike Stonard, Andrew Jamieson and Martin Wilby with Beryl bikes CEO Phil Ellis on launch day of the public cycle operator in Norwich. Picture : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Those opting for e-bikes, e-scooters and pedal bikes in Norwich covered the equivalent distance of the globe an incredible 22 TIMES this year. 

New figures revealed by Beryl, the company behind the Norwich cycling scheme, has shown riders covered 887,660k in 292,424 journeys across the city in 2021.

The majority of these journeys were not for work purposes with a Beryl survey finding 75pc of rides were for leisure.

Pedal assist electric e-Bikes have been added to Norwich rental scheme to encourage longer journeys.

A Beryl bike user getting ready for her journey - Credit: Beryl

Beryl Bays were launched in the city in March 2020, with 89 bays with 465 pedal bikes and 115 e-bikes introduced to Norwich.  

The scheme was subsequently expanded in response to the high uptake.

The Beryl Bikes partnership was launched with the county council's Transport for Norwich as part of a series of projects funded through the central government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

And Martin Wilby, county council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, has welcomed the new figures showing the distance covered in the city over the course of the year.

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He said: "I’m delighted to see the positive impact the Beryl scheme continues to have on both people’s travel habits and the environment. 

“These changes are key drivers of our Transforming Cities programme which funded the scheme’s introduction and we look forward to working with Beryl to further expand the service in 2022.”

The occasional Beryl bike has been spotted abandoned in the city such as in Marriott's Way near Wensum Park in mid-September.

A discarded Beryl bike on Marriott's Way near Wensum Park 

A discarded Beryl bike on Marriott's Way near Wensum Park - Credit: Ben Hardy

However, Beryl data showed more than 90pc of journeys have ended in a designated bay since the scheme's inception. 

Beryl co-founder and chief executive, Phil Ellis said: "We are delighted to see so many people in Norwich making use of our scheme, in what has been a very challenging year for everyone. 

"‘The figures show that efficient and well delivered micromobility systems can quickly become a popular part of the local transport network, providing people with a wider choice of how they travel." 

Beryl Bikes chief executive Phil Ellis with one of the bicycles. Photo : Steve Adams

Beryl Bikes chief executive Phil Ellis with one of the bicycles. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The Beryl study also found out 90pc of users believe an important factor when opting for a micromobility service is convenience.

This was followed by 87pc users citing cost and 76pc stating the environmental impact as the most important reason for them.

The argument against the scheme 

While those using the bikes and e-scooters are pleased with the green-friendly mode of transport to get around, some city folk are not.

Dean Roberts, who is in his 70s and has lived in Norwich for 40 years, said: "I would like to see a tightening up on e-scooters and people cycling on the pavement. 

"The other day I was coming out of the city and a bloke came around a blind corner going at a fair old lick." 

Giles Brooks, who also lives in the city, said: "They're a menace being ridden at speed on busy pavements and pathways." 

The smashed bus shelter in Constitution Hill 

The smashed bus shelter in Constitution Hill - Credit: Ben Hardy

Old Catton and Sprowston West district councillor Richard Potter raised safety question marks this week after an e-scooter smashed into a bus shelter in Constitution Hill after losing control.

"I have certainly sensed an enormous amount of frustration from people over the lack of responsibility and accountability for some riders," Mr Potter said. 

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